UK theme parks from another point of view!

 
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mrbrightside
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Towers' Pricing

Sun May 27, 2012 10:06 pm

After a chat in, well, TTF Chat about the way in which Towers price themselves, I thought I'd make a topic...

The £42 charge is pretty ridiculous when you actually think about it. If anyone here walked up to the gate and paid full whack, would anyone actually feel they had received good value for money? I'm pretty sure that most would not. Towers may still be the best theme park experience in the country, but it prices itself too high and relies on Merlin's BOGOF strategy to get the guests in. I know that Merlin use this as the vouchers can be used across the whole of their portfolio of attractions, but I wonder how many people research the gate price of Towers and just think "no!"

It would be a much more welcoming and appealing pricing structure were Towers to charge a price of around £25 on the gate and not push vouchers so much. Maybe releasing £5 off ones at off peak times, or multi-buy offers like 3 for 2's would still be good to be pushed, but they would not be relied upon to get guests through the gate as the price would be low enough to attract visitors without vouchers. In fact, the park would receive more per guest as a £25 per head charge would be more than the £21pp received through BOGOFs. People value price reductions and hate to feel ripped off.

If feeling ripped off at the gate, people will hold onto their cash for the rest of the day. If they feel that they are paying a good value price, they will no doubt then spend more money on upselling - be it merch, photos, food or fastrack. Merlin would already be taking more per guest at the gate and would then equally be receiving more through other purchases within the park - therefore it would be win-win and may reduce the need for the marketplace Towers Street to be so full of upsellers at the start of the day. Furthermore from this, an even lower price at off peak times would probably increase guest numbers at these times. I am sure Towers would rather have 2,000 (random number) guests on park paying £15-20 a person and spending on other things than 1,000 paying £42 (or £21 each) and not spending much as they feel ripped off!

I also think Towers2 could be looked at. Whilst it is a fantastic way to save money on a return trip, it relies on people knowing that they will return! Otherwise the ticket is a waste of money. Ideally, Towers could give every guest a return voucher for £10 entry as they leave and this would definitely encourage people to return! In order to stop these flooding the market in place of the original entry price they could use T's & C's that mean you need to show your original entry ticket as well as the voucher to gain entry. They could also only make them usable at off-peak times, or have an off-peak and peak return price. This would keep the park busy and once again give people the feeling that they have experienced good value for money.

No matter how much upselling is done, people will spend MORE if they feel they are getting a bargain, not the faux 'bargains' that are currently on offer like the 2 for £10 photos, extra donuts for £1 and so on....
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garyh
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Re: Towers' Pricing

Mon May 28, 2012 1:14 pm

The £42 price tag is for "spur of the moment" visits, its not that often people will pay the full entry price (which i agree is bonkers), most will have BOGOF vouchers of some sort which are not hard to come by making their entry £21 which is pretty good. 

Talking of value for money, i notice Alton are doing more £99 rooms with theme park tickets for this Friday which i think is pretty ruddy good!!!!!
 
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danielbhoy88uk
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Re: Towers' Pricing

Mon May 28, 2012 3:50 pm

I book a family ticketlast friday for £75.60 (2 adults and 2 children)
 
AstroDan

Re: Towers' Pricing

Mon May 28, 2012 4:36 pm

Anything under £25 per person is, in my eyes, good value for a day out at a premier theme park attraction.

:)

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Re: Towers' Pricing

Mon May 28, 2012 5:05 pm

The problem with BOGOFs is that they are a faff to get hold of.

I can honestly say I have only ever once been given a BOGOF voucher in the normal course of my life. If I wanted to get one from tea/cearal/newspaper subscription/round of colonic irrigation, I would actually have to go out of my way to do so.

Even doing the clubcard thing you have to put some level of effort in... whatever happened to just going to a park and paying a reasonable price to enter without all the fuss. It's practically impossible to visit without some level of faff before you've even got to the point of purchasing a ticket. There's escapism out of the window before you've even started.

And of course that's not even starting on the poor sods who have the timerity to want to go to the park in an odd numbered group.
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mrbrightside
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Re: Towers' Pricing

Mon May 28, 2012 5:27 pm

Squiggles wrote:
And of course that's not even starting on the poor sods who have the timerity to want to go to the park in an odd numbered group.
An excellent point... Visiting in a group of 3 with a BOGOF bumps the price up from £21 each to £28 purely because you are in an odd number...

A lower price with a wider range of offers (3 for 2, cheap days etc) would presumably encourage more (and more frequent) visitors to the park, who would in turn spend more money. This is all very unlikely to happen due to the BOGOFs being Merlin-wide, and thus any changes in Towers pricing strategy would have to then be implemented company-wide.
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iNemesis

Re: Towers' Pricing

Mon May 28, 2012 8:55 pm

Squiggles wrote:
And of course that's not even starting on the poor sods who have the timerity to want to go to the park in an odd numbered group.

How is this usually worked around, if you are in a group of three (o-r any odd number)? I'm not too sure I would want to pay extra, for the lack of an extra person.
 
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Themeparksandy1981
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Re: Towers' Pricing

Mon May 28, 2012 8:56 pm

I think they charge theses prices to try to get people&families to buy a Alton Towers or Merlin Annual pass.
 
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Re: Towers' Pricing

Tue May 29, 2012 10:52 am

its really £48 with the car park charge which works out about 7 pounds per hour if you turn up for 10 am. If you turn up at 12 though its the same price cause you cant buy a half day ticket any more... once again, we see another marketing scheme. The pricing is dishonest and hopefully it will backfire eventually or someone will speak up and say "don't you care that you are taking the mickey out of maybe Britain's best day out? Have some integrity, cause anyone with power is expected to have great responsibility"

Like you say there are ways to charge reasonable prices and still make money.
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Tom G
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Re: Towers' Pricing

Tue May 29, 2012 12:24 pm

I'm not sure where I stand on this, but Paultons amassed a record 1 million+ visitors last year and they don't typically shift from their standard entrance price by a great deal.
 
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mrbrightside
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Re: Towers' Pricing

Tue May 29, 2012 12:27 pm

But what did Paulton's do to otherwise attract visitors? Towers had a record year in 2010 when prices were still £39.60 (?) because of Th13teen. Just because they had a record year doesn't mean people felt they experienced good value for money on their day out.

I think a major issue with the British theme park / tourist industry is that we, as the public, go to places like Towers expecting to be ripped off and thus judge our value for money on a skewed scale. If we feel we didn't get ripped off as much as we expected, we have a good day.
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Tom G
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Re: Towers' Pricing

Tue May 29, 2012 12:37 pm

mrbrightside wrote:
But what did Paulton's do to otherwise attract visitors? Towers had a record year in 2010 when prices were still £39.60 (?) because of Th13teen. Just because they had a record year doesn't mean people felt they experienced good value for money on their day out.

I think a major issue with the British theme park / tourist industry is that we, as the public, go to places like Towers expecting to be ripped off and thus judge our value for money on a skewed scale. If we feel we didn't get ripped off as much as we expected, we have a good day.


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Jack Fletcher
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Re: Towers' Pricing

Tue May 29, 2012 5:26 pm

To be honest Merlin should give deals like Drayton Manor. Not being funny or anything but the prices they currently charge are whey to over priced, Drayton do good deals like Facebook offers such as 'Get in for 16.00' Does anyone agree Merlin should give good deals like this.
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Re: Towers' Pricing

Wed May 30, 2012 9:33 am

As soon as parks start to give offers (ie 2-4-1s), then customers start to become savvy.

There are parks out there which are well known for not giving offers and they are thriving, Paultons park as an example.  Finding the same kind of offers for Flamingoland is also very hard.

However, as soon as a park starts to issue these deals, then people become aware and hold back from going as they KNOW that eventually another bogoff will come out.

A classic example of this is Drayton Manor.  They used to offer hardly any 2-4-1s and no one complained, however, over the past couple of years, they have been releasing them quite a lot.  In the last 2 years, on the day prices have increased by £8 to compensate for the increase in 2-4-1's and now they are getting into a position where the public knows the gate price is too high and are waiting for offers.  Look at their Facebook page and see the comments about if there will be a 2-4-1 in August or July etc.  The public have become aware.

Towers and Merlin are too far down the process now to ever stop the bogoffs as everyone knows that you can get them everywhere all year.  It would take balls of steel for them to turn around and say "Entry £25 for everyone.  On the day and pre-purchased tickets".  I cant ever see this happening, which to me is very unfortunate and the reason for the upselling around the park and especially Towers Street
 
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Re: Towers' Pricing

Wed May 30, 2012 10:27 am

Thanks Scott for making this topic!

The £25 number I suggested in chat was purely something I created off the top of my head.

Off peak day would be good for £20 entries IMO :D
 
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Re: Towers' Pricing

Wed May 30, 2012 12:13 pm

When you consider £27 gets you into Flamingoland and they have all the animals to look after and feed all year round then £25 would be a great price for Alton.  One price all year, no off peak prices, just £25

I have been doing a lot of reading about marketing using vouchers and actually spoke to someone who I know in our marketing department where I work (A large worldwide organisation) and they gave me this quote.

You have to manage your promotions, discounts and coupons well because if you offer too many, you will flood the market and be feeding a drug to your customers since they will be trained to purchase with a coupon or discount only


Does this sound familiar to what Merlin are doing?
 
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aru
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Re: Towers' Pricing

Wed May 30, 2012 1:41 pm

It does feel that AT deliberately over-inflate their gate price to cater for widespread use of BOGOF. It would be interesting to experiment with a lower fixed gate price and no BOGOF offers, but I don't think it would be successful.

BOGOF vouchers provide an additional incentive to visit the park - people perceive that they are getting a good deal. In my eyes the gate price is still £20-25 as that is all I have ever paid due to the voucher offers - I would never pay full price.  :)
 
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John
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Re: Towers' Pricing

Wed May 30, 2012 10:23 pm

Hot on the heels of PBB increasing their prices, Alton Towers have followed suit with a £1.50 raise to the on the day price, bringing it to an eye-watering £43.50.

The online price when booked more than a week in advance is £26.10, rising to £34.80 if booked nearer the time.  There is no saving if booked on the day or even the day before.

http://www.altontowers.com/tickets/

EDIT - I'd quoted the ex. VAT prices :roll:. Stupid misleading pricing structure  :x
Last edited by John on Thu May 31, 2012 5:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
CoasterCrazyChris
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Re: Towers' Pricing

Wed May 30, 2012 10:49 pm

£43.50!?

You'd have to be a moron to pay that.
 
iNemesis

Re: Towers' Pricing

Wed May 30, 2012 10:58 pm

John wrote:
Hot on the heels of PBB increasing their prices, Alton Towers have followed suit with a £1.50 raise to the on the day price, bringing it to an eye-watering £43.50.

The online price when booked more than a week in advance is £21.75, rising to £29.00 if booked nearer the time and again to £36.25 if booked on the day or day before, though I'm not sure what those prices were before.

http://www.altontowers.com/tickets/

That is truly shocking. You would have to be an absolute idiot to pay that price!

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